The reason why doctors wear blue scrubs

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Among many blue objects, we can identify scrubs being worn in blue color by the medical teams in hospitals around the world. Doctors, nurses, medical professionals all over the world wear scrubs as sanitary clothing before entering patient rooms, operation theaters, and critical care units. While for surgeries, doctors mandatorily operate wearing scrubs, the associated staff such as nurses and ward boys are also required to wear blue scrubs.

Scrubs are simple two-piece attires divided into two main parts. The top can be worn over the upper half and the scrub trousers are worn over the pants for the bottom half. In a medical environment, where patients should be kept in a contamination-free atmosphere, scrubs have become the requisite. With the fear of carrying pathogens, wearing normal clothing like shirts, t-shirts, trousers, etc. is prohibited. Medically, clothes that are normally worn can carry germs and are considered more harmful than wearing scrubs that promote hygiene and a clean environment.

History of scrubs

Scrubs as medical clothing came into being around the mid of the 20th century when surgeries started taking place in separate operating rooms. Most of the surgeons who performed surgeries were left with stains of fluids, liquids, medicines, and other contaminants, used during surgeries. In an answer to the recurring problem, medical facilities in the 1940s introduced blue-colored scrubs. Meanwhile, the introduction of the antisepsis procedure for operating wounds, cuts, and infections, medical gowns in lighter tones was adopted by doctors.

Blue signified confidence, calm, and serenity. The visual impact of blue was distinctly passive to the eyes of medical professionals, thus it was used appropriately for scrubs. In comparison with bright colors like red or pink, which put more strain on eyes in the well-lit surgery rooms, blue objects like blue-colored scrubs became a norm.

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Changes in wearing scrubs

During the 1950s, more forms of operation room attire were introduced in green, apart from blue and white scrubs. The color green also put less stress on the eyes and made the bloodstains look less prominent on clothes. During the 1970s era, scrubs went through other changes yet, remained to be the norm across all medical circles. As a standard attire to be worn inside the hospital by the medical staff, scrubs were churned out as v-neck calf sleeve shirt with drawstring pants. The fabric used to manufacture blue objects like blue-colored scrubs was either cotton or cotton blend.

Reasons for wearing blue scrubs

In blue objects such as the blue-colored scrubs have remained in practice since their adoption in the early 20th century. Though wearing a scrub has undergone a transformation, yet blue as the primary color for scrubs continues to be in practice across hospitals and medical facilities.

Listed down here are some of the main reasons for wearing blue-colored scrubs:

  1. Scrubs help to identify fluids and contaminants and also keep the clothes of the medical practitioners, pathogen-free. Since, the normal apparels can contain germs and pathogens, aggravating chances of infections for patients.
  2. They are inexpensive and promote a cleaner environment. Blue-colored scrubs are manufactured at a cheaper cost but they aptly serve the purpose of carrying out medical treatment in a hygienic way.
  3. As blue objects, blue-colored scrubs also help in identifying common contaminants like blood, urine, stool, body fluids, etc. on clothes. In the meantime, the doctors can change their drapes to cleaner and hygienic ones.
  4. As the blue colored fabric of scrubs is made with lightweight cloth, they are easy to wash off and require a lesser amount of maintenance. The sterilization process is also easy as it is made with a lighter and more environmentally friendly fabric. The fabric allows contaminants to come off easily during cleaning.
  5. Blue scrubs ensured uniformity of clothing for medical professionals across the world. By wearing, an overall garment during treatment or surgeries of patients, blue scrubs help medical teams be more professional and responsible for the service they provide to the community.
  6. For many years, scrubs and its preferred blue color has been formally adopted by medical teams. The color is considered as less eye-straining in comparison with any other color. The bright operating room lights led to the fatigued eye and staff dressed in bright color would have sensitized the eyes further. As a reason, blue was chosen to be an appropriate color for wearing overalls or gowns.
  7. Blue as a color, not only pacifies the eyes but also calms the brain. Psychologically, blue induces the brain with calming effects. In the operation rooms, where surgeons must perform medical procedures carefully, the blue scrubs ensured that bright colored attires don’t divide attention and drive away focus from the surgery.

How scrubs are made

The term “Scrub” means clean, bright, and spot-free clothes. Hence, blue scrubs also display the significance of practicing and wearing clean attire for medical purposes. Scrubs are worn with surgical masks, rubber gloves, and head covers during surgeries.

Several fabric and fabric blends are used to manufacture scrubs for the medical sector. Material like cotton, which absorbs sweat and other liquids quickly, are considered best for making scrubs. Cotton also works best for blue-colored objects like blue scrubs since it is comfortable to wear and doesn’t lead to the build-up of static electricity. Laundering cotton scrubs is quite easy and less time-consuming.

In comparison with cotton, blue scrubs in polyester is quite a popular alternative. It is highly durable like cotton and prevents stains, and most importantly wrinkling of cloth. Polyester is less likely to shrink, in comparison to cotton fabric. However, on the level of comfort, cotton wins the race against polyester made blue scrubs.

In the modern world, when medical services are going through enormous changes, frequently- the good-old blue scrubs norm is no different. There have been various color variations in wearing scrubs with a different group of staff allowed to wear green, grey, light pink, dark blue, and maroon colored scrubs to work. The scrubs are now being made in the maximum blend of polyester and cotton for increased breathability, durability, cost, and freedom from shrinkage and wrinkles.

Written by Lily Jameson

Lily is a writer and artist with a background in creative arts and design. She believes that both her passions complement each other really well. She often says that what she finds difficult to express with her words, she does so through her art. As a young professional in the digital world, she is well-versed in writing for all kinds of digital platforms, and has had the opportunity to have her writings published across multiple fields. She loves to write about what she knows best – art, culture, and history – and her expertise in these areas reflect in her writing.

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